Forrest Griffin may have sent Tito Ortiz into retirement on Saturday night, but the former light heavyweight champion did not go quietly. Both veterans expended large amounts of energy in their rubber match at UFC 148, a fact that Griffin said prevented him from trying to finish the UFC Hall of Famer in the bout's waning moments.
“He had nothing at the end of the second and third rounds, and I didn't have enough to take advantage of it. It was pretty pathetic,” Griffin told UFC.com after his unanimous decision over Ortiz in the evening's co-main event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“With about two minutes left, he laid on the cage, and I knew he had nothing,” Griffin later told Fox Sports. “I said, 'All right. This is my time. I'm going to finish him.' You know what I did? I pressed the gas pedal, and nothing happened.”
Griffin weathered an early takedown from Ortiz and escaped to his feet, controlling the remainder of round one with his long and linear standup. “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” would respond by dropping Griffin in both rounds two and three but ultimately could not capitalize as Griffin recovered and continually landed solid shots on the Team Punishment founder..
“Those were some good knockdowns he had on me. He was hitting me with everything but the kitchen sink, but I was too tired to move out of the way. It always comes down to fatigue,” said Griffin. “The [knockdown] in the second round didn't hurt me, but that one in the third round was the real deal.”
Griffin and Ortiz first met at UFC 59, where a comparatively inexperienced Griffin was edged by the Californian in a split decision. However, the original “Ultimate Fighter” returned the favor in their 2009 rematch at UFC 106 and would again emerge victorious in Saturday's deciding contest. While it has been over six years since the two men first met, Griffin believes that the trilogy will forever link his name with Ortiz's.
“He did exactly what he does. I did exactly what I do. Tito comes out strong, takes me down and beats me up a little. Then I come back on him, and he gasses a little bit, and I take a little bit of an advantage,” said Griffin. “We had three really close fights. If you watch [the trilogy], it just feels like one long fight with the same feel to it.”